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Holographic 3D Display for visualising volumetric images from medical scanners

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - HoloMedical3D (Holographic 3D Display for visualising volumetric images from medical scanners)

Reporting period: 2018-02-01 to 2018-08-31

Advanced medical imaging technologies were pioneered in Europe over the past few decades; winning Nobel Prizes for CT (Cormack & Hounsfield, 1979) and MRI (Lauterbur & Mansfield, 2003). The pace of innovation has been tremendous in terms performance, safety, speed, and cost. These medical scanning devices capture a series of tomographic 2D image slices through the body to form a 3D volumetric stack. However, it is surprising to find that corresponding advances in 3D displays have failed to match the rapid pace of these developments. Half of the human brain is devoted to visual processing, however, conventional presentation of this information is in 2D. This presents many challenges to those medical professionals, which are not trained radiologists, who need to interpret a stack of 2D images quickly and accurately. This leads to uncertainty and ambiguity in planning or delivery of surgery, therapy, screening or diagnostics. Such specialists include surgeons, clinicians, radiology, cardiology, obstetrics, orthopaedics and neurology. The best way to overcome these issues is to present the data in 3D. However, current stereo 3D with eyewear only presents an illusion of 3D, which is unacceptable for clinical settings. Our solution enables 3D data to be interpreted volumetrically in a manner similar to that of the scan.

Medical imaging technology is based on Ultrasound, CT (Computed Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanners. These machines generate 3D volumetric imagery as a series of 2D slices scanned through the body using some form of energy: x-ray radiation for CT, magnetic fields/radio waves for MRI or ultrasound. These data are presented directly to viewer(s) as full 3D images via the holographic volumetric display. The display essentially performs the inverse operation and converts the radiation into a photonic representation, showing the 2D slices as a series of “light sheets” suspended in free space.

Holoxica has pioneered a series of motion holographic video displays over the past few years. The award-winning technology produces excellent results with large, bright images floating in mid-air without the need for cumbersome glasses. The display system comprises state of the art optical components (patented Holographic Optical Element, lasers, high speed projection), embedded electronics and image processing with software. The basic principles have been proven in a series of national projects and successful completion of the project will result in a prototype validated within realistic medical scenarios.

Holographic technology does not require glasses or any eyeware. Full 3D images can be viewed naturally without any discomfort or inconvenience.
The main objective for the period included the fabrication of key components, system integration and software. Most of these were achieved, however, the main issue is the delivery of a critical component that is now delaying the project. Alternatives are being considered. Dissemination actions have been relatively good with some articles/video in the popular/technical press as well as conferences and a book chapter prepared. Phase 3 activities are also progressing well, although investment in hardware technology by VCs is difficult.
The benefits of the holographic volumetric display include quicker interpretation of 3D scan images, faster surgery and better quality surgical procedures.

The breakthrough innovation will meet an urgent demand from medical professionals for a 3D visualisation solution that can match the performance of scanning devices. Applications include teaching/training, diagnostics/planning and live surgery.

Medical Imaging 3D Displays is a global $1.4B market by 20203, growing at 31.0% CAGR according to Stratistics. This disruptive innovation may be used across many other multi-billion euro industries including airport security, computer monitors and consumer TV or video gaming.
Artist's impression of the holographic display